How Does Barometric Pressure Affect Fish Feeding Habits?

Barometric pressure is among the overlooked factors that affect fishing success, and that’s a shame because of its effects on fish feeding habits! When you know when fish are likely to feed, as influenced by barometric pressure, you can set up your line in places that offer the highest chances of success. 

Read Also: How Long Can A Betta Fish Go Without Eating?

Of course, be sure to consider other factors affecting your success in fishing, such as water temperature, tide, and light level, even the phase of the moon.

You can learn more about these aspects, among others, by reading Joe Cermele’s The Total Fishing Manual (Paperback Edition)  book, a comprehensive guide on fishing complete with handy illustrations and photos. 

Definition of Barometric Pressure

Barometric pressure is the weight or mass of an air column on a unit of the surface at sea level.

The traditional way of measuring barometric measure involves the use of liquid mercury (Hg). When the air pressure rises, the mercury rises. And when air pressure drops, the mercury level drops, too. In these devices, the changes in air pressure are recorded in inches.

A reading of 30 inches is within normal limits, but there are also slight differences depending on the climate. Furthermore, approaching weather systems like cold and warm fronts have low air pressure.

When the weather systems have departed, the air pressure rises, and the weather usually becomes calmer like relatively calm seas and sunshiny days. 

Don’t be unsure about air pressure. You should use a device like the Trac Outdoor T3002 Fishing Barometer so you can get near-accurate readings. 

Effects on Fish and Their Feeding Habits

Fish are more comfortable in stable high-pressure environments because their bladders aren’t affected by the low air pressure. Fish sense air pressure through their bladders and seek the depths to relieve the pressure, and they sense changes in atmospheric pressure faster than humans, too.

In stable high-pressure conditions, fish are more likely to feed actively within the area of the water column. You will observe that you’re catching more fish in an extended period marked by high air pressure because the fish feed heavily.

But as a cold or warm front approaches, the fish sense the drop in air pressure and feed less aggressively, even seek the depths to relieve their feelings of discomfort. When the front passes, the air pressure rises, and the feed starts to come back to the surface.

But don’t place your lines so soon as the fish are still adjusting to the change in air pressure – wait for about 24 hours before resuming your fishing operations.

If you would like an in-depth article on the fishing aspect, check out Ontrack Fishing’s article: The Best Barometric Pressure For Fishing.

Afterward, the fish are more likely to bite because they have had ample time to stabilize their bodies and adjust to the new conditions. And the cycle begins again when the air pressure changes. 

You can use this knowledge in deciding where to fish, too. For example, if the air pressure dips below 30 inches, you should cast your lines in deeper water since the fish are likely to seek refuge there. It is particularly true for the larger fish, such as redfish, trout, grouper, and tarpon.


In conclusion, keep in mind that there are numerous factors affecting fish behavior, and these must be considered, too. The difference between fishing success and failure lies in planning your fishing days based on peak conditions as well as the fish type you are opting to catch.